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President’s Project – Appalachian Wildlife Center

In Bell County in the Mountain Laurel District of The Garden Club of Kentucky there is a 12,000-acre tract of land that is being developed for an elk preserve by The Appalachian Wildlife Foundation. This preserve, which will be developed on abandoned coal strip mine property, will have a visitor’s center, small lake, restaurant, petting zoo and elk viewing tours as well as historical displays of the area’s mining on this land. These acres of old strip mine property that surround the visitor’s center will be reclaimed and planted to create the prairie necessary for the elk. This area is isolated and free from pesticide overspray. Several rare migratory birds have been sighted in the preserve that depend on feeding from our native seeds and berries along their journey. There are bear, fox, bobcats and other small mammals living on the property.

For my special project, our garden club members will collaborate with The Appalachian Wildlife Center to develop several acres of native habitat near the visitor’s center. We would provide seed and help develop plans for fields of native wildflowers and grasses that would provide food and shelter for many birds, small mammals, insects and other creatures.

This area and its surrounds would need to include a covered outdoor classroom and walking trails for students and other visitors to the preserve.

I feel that my project would be an educational tool that would help all visitors learn how important native plants are to the protection and continuation of all native life around us.

In the Garden – April

  • Ticks have arrived and are waiting to drop from shrubs and trees onto you. Thoroughly treat clothing with tick spray. Wear light-colored long pants and long sleeve shirt, and hat. Tuck pants into socks, and gloves over sleeve cuffs. Check clothing before entering the house after working in the yard.
  • Daffodils – Daffodils are rapidly fading. Snap off spent blooms at the base of the stem. Allow foliage to die back 2/3rds before cutting it or tucking under other plants. Never fold or braid the foliage as that restricts nutrients to the bulbs to form buds for next year. Plant daylilies in front of daffodils to hide the dying foliage. To divide, wait until mid-June to mid-August.
  • Houseplants – House plants make a house attractive and comfortable. Too often pets are attracted to them and can be toxic. The following  are pet friendly, easy to grow and inexpensive: African violet, Boston fern, banana, gloxinia, and phalaenopsis. Air plant and spider also purify the air.  WARNING: Easter Lilies are poisonous to cats.
  • Trees and shrubs – Wait to cut back bush honeysuckle and early blooming spirea until after they cease blooming. They set their buds for next year on this year’s growth. (Please note that tartarian honeysuckle, Morrow’s honeysuckle, and amur honeysuckle are all invasive in Kentucky and should be removed completely.Tulip magnolia sets its buds by July. For thick hedges top to bottom, prune at an outward angle creating a slightly wider base to allow sun to reach the bottom branches. Before trees leaf out, check for hanging broken limbs and remove.

Easter Lilies

If you receive a lily for Easter, you know that lilies as with any true bulb are easy to care for in the house, and then planted out after the last frost. In the meantime enjoy their elegance inside.  (WARNING: This plant is poisonous to cats!)  Part of its charm is that its pure white petals reflect even the lowest of light whether indoors or in the garden.

A true lily, with a little care Lilium longiflorum will rebloom in mid-summer, having acclimated to its natural bloom period. Until planting out, keep it in bright, indirect light, 60-65 degrees, mist frequently to keep humidity high, and turn the plant every few days. When the flower dies, cut the stem to the base. Plant on a south-facing slope as it likes moist but not wet feet. Plant 6” deep in loamy soil. Clay can be amended by working peat and perlite. Do not worry about the exact depth, the bulb will adjust to its preferred depth.

Parlor Palms

Mrs. Wallis was known for her horticulture and gardens. There is a wonderful picture of her standing most elegantly at the entrance to her formal garden, in front of a long row of tall white lilies. While there is no picture of her standing in front of a cluster of Parlor Palms, there is no doubt that she would have had at least one or two as they were very popular and still are.

Chamaedorea elegans, more commonly known as Parlor Palm, happens to be the most popular house plant world-wide. It requires minimal care, almost to the point of neglect. In addition to adding interest and even elegance to any room and is not toxic to pets or children. What more could you ask for.

A favorite since Victorian days, the Mexican native is a slow-grower it is happy with the average home environment and temperature of 65-75 and even up to 85 degrees. Any light is acceptable except direct. Let the soil dry out before watering every 1-2 weeks and mist a couple of times a week to keep fronds dust-free and mite free. Frond tips will brown if it gets too dry or humidity is low. It will yellow when over-watered.

Primarily a houseplant, the palm is content to spend the summer under a tree and return before the first fall frost. And it has air-purifying attributes.

In Memoriam: Sandra Robinson

It is with a heavy heart that we must inform you that former National Garden Clubs President, Sandra H. Robinson passed away on March 22, 2021.

Sandy Robinson was one of our very own, a founding member of the Lady’s Slipper Garden Club in London, KY, in the Mountain Laurel District. She was a former GCKY President, active at the state, regional, and national levels. Sandy was a four-star member, which means she was a Landscape, Gardening, and Environmental Consultant, and an Accredited Flower Show Judge.

Sandy served as President of National Garden Clubs, Inc. from 2015-2017 with a theme of “Leap Into Action”. Sandy may have been small in stature but had a heart as big as the outdoors. She was quick to share a smile from ear to ear and a story. She lived and loved the garden clubs, and never met a garden club member she did not like or miss an opportunity to promote NGC to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. She was the best traveling companion throughout the United States and abroad. Sandy held a special place in her heart for the IAs and never could believe the lavish attention and admiration they showered on her.

She truly did “Leap into Action” before, during and after her administration. Give her a job, ask her to enter a flower, or travel less than 24 hours after returning from an International WAFA show to judge a flower show, hoping she could get someone else to drive so she could catnap, but look totally refreshed and engaging when arriving at her destination. Sandy was game for any experience, as long as it didn’t involve chicken or shellfish. She was a mentor to many people, helping solve problems of all sorts. Truly, she was a “rock” to her friends and family, someone you could always count on.

She was a longtime and dedicated member of NGC and many lives have been enriched by her friendship. Please keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers.
Her obituary can be viewed on the Bowling Funeral Home, London, KY, website and Facebook page. Visitation is at 5PM on Friday, March 26, and service at 11AM on Saturday, March 27. It will be livestreamed and archived for later viewing as well.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations.

GCKY SCHOLARSHIPS
att: Jan Worth
2305 Shannon Road
Paris, KY 40361-2451
Memo line: Sandy Robinson

BAPTIST HEALTH FOUNDATION CORBIN
Online: supportbaptisthealth.org/corbin
Designate Oncology Dept.
or
Check: Baptist Health Foundation Corbin
1 Trillium Way
Corbin, KY 40701
Memo Line: Oncology Dept.

Sandra Kay Robinson

Landscaping Design Consultant, Gardening Consultant, Environmental Study Consultant, Flower Show Judge

Sandra Kay Robinson

Mon 17 Aug 1953 – Mon 22 Mar 2021

Garden Club Member

Lady Slippers Garden Club   

Mountain Laurel District

 

Sandy Robinson was one of our very own, a founding member of the Lady’s Slipper Garden Club in London, KY, in the Mountain Laurel District. She was a former GCKY President, active at the state, regional, and national levels. Sandy was a four-star member, which means she was a Landscape, Gardening, and Environmental Consultant, and an Accredited Flower Show Judge.

Sandy served as President of National Garden Clubs, Inc. from 2015-2017 with a theme of “Leap Into Action”. Sandy may have been small in stature but had a heart as big as the outdoors. She was quick to share a smile from ear to ear and a story. She lived and loved the garden clubs, and never met a garden club member she did not like or miss an opportunity to promote NGC to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. She was the best traveling companion throughout the United States and abroad. Sandy held a special place in her heart for the IAs and never could believe the lavish attention and admiration they showered on her.

She truly did “Leap into Action” before, during and after her administration. Give her a job, ask her to enter a flower, or travel less than 24 hours after returning from an International WAFA show to judge a flower show, hoping she could get someone else to drive so she could catnap, but look totally refreshed and engaging when arriving at her destination. Sandy was game for any experience, as long as it didn’t involve chicken or shellfish. She was a mentor to many people, helping solve problems of all sorts. Truly, she was a “rock” to her friends and family, someone you could always count on.

She was a longtime and dedicated member of NGC and many lives have been enriched by her friendship. Please keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

GCKY SCHOLARSHIPS
att: Jan Worth
2305 Shannon Road
Paris, KY 40361-2451
Memo line: Sandy Robinson

BAPTIST HEALTH FOUNDATION CORBIN
Online: supportbaptisthealth.org/corbin
Designate Oncology Dept.
or
Check: Baptist Health Foundation Corbin
1Trillium Way
Corbin, KY 40701
Memo Line: Oncology Dept.

2020 KNPS Botanical Symposium

On Dec. 11, 2020, Kentucky Native Plant Society held their first virtual membership meeting and botanical symposium. For several years, KNPS has organized a botanical symposium in the fall with a goal of bringing together professionals, citizen scientists, academics, gardeners and students in order to learn about what’s going on in the world of Kentucky Botany. Despite the pandemic year, they thought it was important to continue this event.

More than 120 people gathered online for several hours of informative presentations and interesting discussions. To share the information more widely, all of the presentations are now available online:

The Kentucky Botanical Symposium 2020

Always the Latest: Frostfree Hellebore

The owners of Wallis House always planted the latest, whether cultivar or type of plant. When Mrs. Wallis’ father bought the property from his uncle’s estate, he said that he was doing so to give Nannine a place to garden. And she did. Always the latest and that has been carried forth by The Garden Club of Kentucky.

Helleborus is one of the under-appreciated and planted of all of our perennials. The evergreen quietly fills garden gaps until this time of year when it blooms forth from before Christmas (H. niger) through late spring. The three types are H. niger, Christmas hellebore that ‘blooms’ in December, followed by Lenten Rose (H. orientalis) and H. x hybrid including the relatively new charming container-grown FrostKiss, which will survive extreme cold. It is a mid-late season Lenten Rose. 

Two weeks ago, buds magically appeared half-hidden among the new foliage. Each day more are appearing – pink rimmed white, deep purple, pink, green, and some speckled. The pure colors are actually bracts (modified leaves) that provide the color for the new flowers well into April. The flower is actually the yellow center.

New to these colorful winter bracts is the relatively new Frostfree hybrid. The charmingly small container-grown plant  will spread to 2’x2’ and blooms into April. Unlike other hellebores, it will bloom within the first year of planting, starting as days shorten and temperatures drop to 40-50 degrees.

In addition to year-round interest, Frostfree is minimal maintenance. Here are some tips:

  • Do not cut leaves as they are the source of new flowers.
  • Apply a slow-release fertilizer; a small amount more if flowering ceases.
  •  In the summer, water as needed but not during the heat of the day.
  • Plant in 30 percent shade, well-drained coarse, pH 5.5 soil.
  • It may be planted in spring or fall when it is actively growing but not in the summer.
  • Astilbe, brunneria, fern, hosta and lungwort are wonderful companion plants.

Frostfree hellebore source: White Flower Farm (whiteflowerfarm.com, 800-503-9624); Burpee(burpee.com, 800-888-1447).

 

William Beau Weston Awarded GCKY Enrichment Award For 2020 

This award is given annually to a non-garden club member or organization that exemplifies the goals of The Garden Club of Kentucky.                 

Thanks to the vision and dedication of one man, Danville’s tree canopy will be increased by at least 500 trees in the space of 10 years, most of them lining the city’s main streets. William Beau Weston, Professor of Sociology at Centre College, has been working for years to shade the city’s sidewalks. 

Weston walks daily from his home on St. Mildreds Court near Centre’s campus, down Main Street, to his unofficial “office” at a local coffee shop downtown.  After the ice storm of 2009 took down so many old trees, his walk lost most of its shade. His first project was to organize the householders of St. Mildreds Court to plant 26 trees on their street. This led to a more ambitious plan to shade the sidewalks of Danville, which became the Danville Tree Fund.

In 2014 Weston learned about Kentucky Utility’s “Plant for the Planet” program. The program is modeled after the United Nations Environment Program’s “Billion Tree Campaign.” The purpose of this international effort is to bring individuals, communities, and businesses together to collectively plant over one billion trees worldwide each year. 

KU’s program is designed to encourage nonprofit organizations and local government agencies to plant more trees. A grant application must be submitted each year. For 5 out of the past 6 years, Kentucky Utilities has given the Danville program a grant to match what is raised locally, up to $5,000 a year. Grant winners have not yet been announced for 2019, but there is every hope that funds collected this year will be matched for next year’s tree planting. So far approximately $35,000 raised locally has been matched by KU. This wouldn’t have happened without the dedication of Beau Weston. 

He began by asking the Danville City Commission for its blessing in applying for the grants. The commissioners enthusiastically gave him the go-ahead. This became a joint effort of many individuals and organizations. Weston worked tirelessly in the beginning to connect the people who collectively run the program and to set up a secure system for collecting and disbursing the funds raised. 

By networking with many organizations, he came up with a winning combination: The county extension agent chooses the species of trees; the Danville Beautification Committee, which is made up of local citizens, picks the spots to plant the trees; the city of Danville provides the labor to plant and maintain the trees; and the Wilderness Trace Community Foundation handles the money. This is a perfect example of different constituencies working together for the common good – the city, the state (through the extension service), volunteer civic agencies, community betterment groups, KU’s corporate foundation, and many private citizens

Weston aims to collect at least $5,000 each year and is persistent in soliciting contributions from individuals and organizations before the grant application is due in November. One hundred dollars, matched by an equal amount from KU will buy one tree, but donations of any size are accepted. The goal is 50 trees a year and, depending on tree prices, it has been up to 75 trees planted in one year.  

Every year he sends out emails to anyone who might be remotely interested and arranges for publicity in the newspaper and on social media. Local organizations have contributed since the program began, along with many individuals, families, and businesses. Each year since 2017 Weston has applied for and been awarded a $500 grant from the Garden Club of Danville, which uses profits from its garden tours to support gardening and environmental projects.          

The trees are a mixture of species, especially native ones, that are suitable for high-traffic streets. They are sizable trees three inches in diameter and about 10-feet high. The KU grant requires that the trees be watered and maintained for at least three years, which is done by the city. Each tree gets a water bag for the first year and is watered as necessary for two more years. The city of Danville picks up the trees from the seller, stores them until planting time, plants them, supplies and fills the “gator” water bags, and maintains the trees. Weston says that these larger trees have a much better survival rate than the seedlings planted by some other organizations.

In the past six years over 300 trees have been planted along Danville streets, thanks to Beau Weston’s initiative and organizational skills. He has noted that the purpose of the project is to enhance the beauty and livability of Danville by providing all the things that trees are good for – shade, beauty, oxygen, animal and insect habitat, heat control, and civic pride. The Danville Tree Fund furthers all the objectives of the Garden Club of Kentucky by promoting interest in and knowledge of trees, beautifying our community, and cooperating with other agencies to promote conservation of native plants. 

Nominated by The Garden Club of Danville  


News articles

February – Things to do in the Garden

THINGS TO DO

Groundhog Day – Punxsutawney Phil claims his Spring predictions are 100%, any error is due to his interpreter’s miscommunication. My prediction is based on phrenology and when Easter is. It is early this year(April 4) therefore spring will be earlier than normal.

Birds –Keep bird baths clean and filled as we are averaging less than half our normal rain for this time of year.  Clean birdhouses. Install bluebird boxes on fence posts and martin boxes on tall poles where both birds have plenty of flying room. Face the boxes openings away from the prevailing winds.

Trees – Order trees for planting in March. Survey trees and shrubs for maintenance they leaf out. Remove crossed branches, hanging branch can cause injury. Crape myrtles grow well here providing us late summer non-stop blooms. The Indian-named myrtles developed at the National Arboretum are cold hardy to Zone 6. Good source: The Crape Myrtle Company (crapemyrtle.com)

Vegetables – Sow herbs, bunching and bulb onion, and pepper indoors. Finish cleaning the garden. Repair supports and trellises.

Tools – Clean out your tool shed or wherever you store tools and supplies. Organize a hand tool carrier. Paint handles a construction pink or yellow. It IDs your tools and makes it easier to find in  grass and leaves.

Long handles that are broken or too short can be replaced at most local hardware stores. Rake handles should come to the top of your shoulder. If there is height difference in the family, buy multiple rakes and paint handles difference colors. Save old paint and chemicals in a container marked for disposal at your county’s free-disposal day in the spring.